The solution to gun violence may not lie in the hands of politicians

In the wake of recent shooting attacks in Colorado and California, the solutions conversation tends to focus on two ideas – tighter gun control laws, and better mental health treatment.  The solution however may not be an “either or” scenario.

There is still much to be learned about the shooters involved in Colorado and California, and regardless of motive , Psychologist Dr. Kathryn Seifert suggests that there is a common thread among the shooters that pushes them to that point.

There are certain risk factors that may lead an individual to become violent.  Dr. Seifert says among them major reasons involve growing up in a violent home where domestic abuse occurs, along with children who are severely neglected.  These factors at home add to other factors such as living in a low income area that leaves individuals vulnerable to being recruited to a larger organization that promotes violence.  This can range from the average street gang all the way to terrorist organizations like ISIS.

Dr. Seifert says stemming gun violence will only happen by addressing all three areas – tighter gun laws, better mental health access, and improved environments for individuals who hold higher risk factors for violence.  These improved environments start at the community level.  Society must recognize ways to become more positive influences to disadvantaged youth, and taking it a step further to intervene if someone shows early violent tendencies to show them other options.

Many on the political left argue for more strict gun laws, many on the political right argue against that, citing their second amendment right to bear arms.  Regardless of political affiliation, the answer may not lie in the hands of politicians, but citizens.

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